The COVID-19 public health emergency officially ends Thursday.
But please don’t mistake that for thinking our economic challenges are also behind us.
Please don’t mistake that for thinking that we no longer need to support our local business and nonprofits and embrace measures that will grow and keep companies, workers and jobs here.
And please don’t do what Senate President Karen Spilka did yesterday when she made clear she will not be following the lead of Gov. Maura Healey and the House by moving any time soon on a tax relief package.
Here in Massachusetts, workers are leaving the state in record numbers. Between July 2020 and July 2022, we lost 13,755 residents. Only four states experienced a greater loss of residents, according to the US Census.
New business starts are declining too. In 2012, Massachusetts ranked 32nd for per-capita new business applications with wages. By 2022, it dropped to 43, according to the Boston Chamber.
Meanwhile, banks are pulling back on lending, increasing the chance of a recession. And Washington D.C. is locked in a dangerous debt limit standoff.
Two thirds of the way and then ....
Healey’s tax relief plan and the House’s plan both aim to boost competitiveness and help workers, families and business owners. Both cut the state's 12 percent tax rate on short-term capital gains to 5 percent, though on different schedules.
Healey also wants to triple the threshold at which the estate tax kicks in, from $1 million to $3 million, while the House proposed doubling it. Each plan also includes a variety of relief for families with children, renters, seniors and incentives for job training and more.
But yesterday, Spilka “was coy about when the [Senate's] tax relief package would be taken up, how big it will be, and what specific types of tax relief will be included,” writes CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl.
Which feels too much like last summer, and then last fall, when lawmakers all acknowledged the need, but failed to advance
, a similar tax relief package offered by our prior governor.
Which helped -- and helps -- absolutely no own.